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Day: May 24, 2015

On caffeine addiction, withdrawal symptoms and energy gaps…

For over a decade this eejit was a slave to Coca-Cola and I can assure you there are better things to be a slave to than a giant American corporation who are keen on ruining my teeth. In 2010 I went cold turkey and having essentially not drunk anything but carbonated beverages I fought through the withdrawal and saw cherry coke in my rear view mirror. On the upside this change alone knocked off around 800 calories a day (yes I was drinking that much coke) and unsurprisingly this led to losing rapid amounts of weight. It also had other advantages such as the relaxation of night sweats.

Why am I writing about this now? Well a few weeks ago I slipped back into a routine of drinking more cherry coke than I had been. Not to the amounts of before but easily 2-3 cans a day and I had noticed that suddenly I’d become far more lethargic than I had been in a long time. My sleep pattern changed and I’d be going to bed far earlier than usual because I had less energy than I did before and in the afternoons I’d sit trying to work and struggle to keep my eyes open.

Last weekend I was out and I realised that over a 24 hour period all I drunk was coke and I sat there thinking that I was slipping back into old bad habits. So I looked at the cherry coke in the fridge and told myself that it wasn’t moving for a week just to see how my body would react. I haven’t had one energy gap since Monday where I was feeling that I needed a lie down in the afternoon, this is a distinct difference to the previous few weeks. I’ve also started staying awake longer and drifting back into my more regular sleep pattern. Now this does have one downside as previously I had been going to bed far earlier as I had no energy so fell asleep instantaneously, which was nice, but on the other hand I was waking up in the night and early. This week I’ve had solid sleeps every night albeit starting at a later point.

I also had just started to feel the mild headache that I remember from when I was really addicted to caffeine. I recall the days, certainly in the summer, when I’d think that lemonade would be a nice change from coke and then a few hours later having a harsh headache reminding me that I shouldn’t think like that and coke was what my body needed. After a couple of days without it I once more passed through that phase.

Caffeine is surprisingly addictive and whilst I broke the back of the nasty addiction in 2010, it was easy to slip back into old lazy habits and it didn’t take long for the body to notice that caffeine was coming in once more and when it didn’t get any for a day or so it started to remind me. For nearly five years I had found a happy medium, the odd can or the odd bottle here and there if I fancied it. This is how I need to go back to dealing with my relationship with the black bubble stuff. Coke should be a treat and a rarity in my diet and not something that becomes so usual that my body misses it when it is gone.

I’m sure many people have some form of mild caffeine addiction either via carbonated beverages or coffee. The amount of people who say they don’t feel human until after they’ve had a cup of coffee in the morning surprises me but then I look back and think that I used to get up and swing by the fridge to pick up a cold can before I did anything most days, so I can’t exactly say too much about it can I? Still all I’ll say is I am a healthier individual with caffeine broadly on the outside looking in, not just physically but also mentally. It is never fun getting to the afternoon and struggling to keep the eyes open knowing that you actually have work and things to do.

Whilst writing this my mind drifts back to days at a previous employment when I can distinctly remember afternoons, regular afternoons, when I’d sit at my desk and have giant energy gaps where upon I’d really struggle to do anything constructive. I wonder how much of that was down to diet/caffeine because I used to sleep fine and get 7-8 hours a night and I should easily have had the energy to get through the day but could it just be a legacy of the fact I have never eaten breakfast? I’d say no because I still don’t and apart from the past few weeks my daily energy hasn’t been an issue for years.

So for now cherry coke and I are on a break (and I hope it won’t be as dramatic and Ross & Rachel…). In recent weeks I have piled on the pounds so much that when I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in years, my belly was the first thing he commented on (oh the shame…) will just cutting out caffeine stop the rapid development of my belly? Maybe, maybe not but I suspect it certainly won’t harm and if I can easily keep my eyes open all day then I think I’d be getting something worthwhile from knocking the cherry coke on the head.

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